UPDATE, September 27, 2016:
Despite the protests, and the science, and the hardship that is inflicted on Montreal’s people and dogs, the city council has voted in favor of a pit bull ban.
The vote of 27-22 took place on Tuesday afternoon. The law goes into effect on October 3.
Shortly after the vote, efforts got underway to get as many of Montreal’s blocky-headed dogs out of the city and to safety.
One of the groups that has stepped up to help with this effort is The Mr. Mo Project — which ordinarily finds loving “fospice” homes for elderly and sick shelter dogs, and is now expanding its mission to Montreal’s displaced and at-risk canines.
“These dogs have done nothing to be in this situation,” says Chris Hughes, who runs Mr. Mo with his wife Mariesa.
“We have a responsibility to these dogs,” adds Mariesa. “Once they are safe we can educate, but until then we fight for their rights.”
If you can foster or adopt a Montreal dog through The Mr. Mo Project, please fill out an application. We will update this piece with more information about how to help Montreal’s dogs, as we get it.
The American Bar Association has also come out against proposals to ban pit bulls from two Canadian jurisdictions — Quebec province and Montreal, a city in Quebec that (unfortunately) looks to be moving forward with its own ban.
A letter from the ABA’s director of government affairs Thomas M. Susman — which you can read in full here — urges lawmakers to consider alternatives to breed-based regulations:
I am writing on behalf of the American Bar Association (ABA), a professional organization of nearly 400,000 lawyers, judges, academics, and law students, with members in both the United States and Canada, to express our concern over proposals by the provincial and municipal governments to regulate or ban ownership of certain dogs based solely on their breed or appearance.
It’s lawyerly language to talk about a deeply emotional issue that will force Canadian families to choose between their homes and their furry family members.
Among the reasons the letter notes are that BSL doesn’t make people safer, and is “expensive and difficult to enforce.”
Susman also points out that low-income families face especially harsh results:
Families are often left with the choice of having to move to a nondiscriminatory community or having their pet taken from them. This burden will often fall hardest on low-income families that cannot afford to challenge the designation of their dog as a banned breed or to move to a location where they may keep their family pet.
Luckily, there are safer, cheaper, more humane alternatives.
“Municipalities can safely and humanely regulate dogs in their community by focusing on the individual behavior of all dogs and the reckless behavior of dog owners,” the letter ends.
“This policy approach has proven to be the most effective solution to improving public safety, and we encourage you to consider such an approach as an alternative to the pending proposals.”
Animal advocates are hopeful that Quebec province will indeed avail itself of the better alternatives to BSL.
“But not as much for Montreal,” said the Montreal SPCA’s Marie-Noël Gingras-Perron, due to Mayor Denis Coderre’s relentless enthusiasm for the measure.
“He has made his decision,” she said. “A decision clearly not according to science and experts.”
The Montreal SPCA has vehemently opposed the proposed bans, which are expected to be going into law on September 26. The group has said it will cease providing dog control services to Montreal, should the ban pass — because BSL would require the group to euthanize healthy, friendly, otherwise-adoptable dogs.
Gingras-Perron asked for those who oppose Montreal’s proposed breed ban to reach out to Mayor Denis Coderre — his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org — and sign this petition.
Another way to help: let the Montreal SPCA know if you, your shelter, or your rescue group can take in some of the pits who will no longer be welcome in the city.
“We will try to relocate our dogs, even in the US,” said Gingras-Perron. “If some rescues can contact us, that would be wonderful.”